Employment (London) - pricing guideline
The employment team in London predominantly acts for SME's and senior executives and high net-worth individuals who earn in excess of £100,000. These matters are usually complex and of high-value where the stakes in terms of reputation and regulatory risk can be significant and where strategic and tactical thinking provides a key element of the advice we give. Our service is partner led and the partner will be heavily involved in your matter from start to finish. Our clients largely come from the following sectors:
- Financial services
- Professional services
Our pricing for bringing claims for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal (including constructive dismissal) is as follows:
- Simple case: £15,000 to £25,000 (excluding VAT*)
- Medium complexity case: £30,000 to £65,000 (excluding VAT)
- High complexity case: £70,000 to £100,000 (excluding VAT).
Note that, in relation to wrongful dismissal claims, there is cap of £25,000 which can be claimed in the Employment Tribunal. This may inform a decision as to whether or not on a costs/benefit analysis it would be worth instructing us to recover damages for wrongful dismissal, as the legal fees in obtaining such damages may be likely to exceed the amount to be claimed. However, please note that wrongful dismissal claims (predominantly for notice pay) are often brought as part of a constructive unfair dismissal claim.
Further information on what adds to the complexity of a matter, can be found further down this page.
We act predominantly for SMEs and US Companies with an establishment in the UK in the sectors listed above in defending unfair or wrongful dismissal claims (including constructive unfair dismissal claims, and particularly where allegations of whistleblowing and/or discrimination are involved).
Our pricing for defending claims for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal (including constructive unfair dismissal) is as follows:
- Simple case: £20,000 to £30,000(excluding VAT)
- Medium complexity case: £30,000 to £70,000 (excluding VAT)
- High complexity case: £70,000 to £100,000 (excluding VAT).
The above range of costs are based on an hourly rate of the Employment Partner's time at £510 plus VAT and the Employment Associate's time at £390 plus VAT.
Each case is different, in terms of its factual and legal complexity and also the amount of work required by us. The information we have given is a broad view of the relevant pricing.
Factors that could make a case more complex for both Claimants and Defendants, include, without limitation:
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
- Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
- Making or defending a costs application
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled or if there is an issue about status, i.e. whether they were an employee or worker of the employer (if this is not agreed by the parties)
- The number of witnesses involved and the volume and complexity of documents
- The amount of correspondence between the lawyers for both sides, or the amount of correspondence between us and the Claimant if he or she is a litigant in person
- If documents need to be redacted, for example, because of legal privilege
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. the claimant is dismissed after blowing the whistle on wrongdoing by the employer or a fellow employee or worker, or for any of the other automatic unfair dismissal reasons prescribed by statute
- If there are allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
- If we are required to attend Conferences with Counsel prior to the hearing.
There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of approximately £3,000 (excluding VAT) per day, depending on the experience of the lawyer required, plus the cost calculated at our hourly rates of travel time to and from the Employment Tribunal. If you require an employment partner to attend any particularly important days of the hearing, the additional cost per day will be £3,500 to £4,000 plus VAT and travel time.
Generally, we would allow 2-5 days depending on the complexity of your case. However, please note that automatic unfair dismissal cases involving whistleblowing and/or discrimination can last on average for up to 10 days.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Counsel's fees can be between £3000 to £6,000 plus VAT ( for a 1 day case) to approximately £7000 to £12,000 plus VAT (for a 3 day case), £15,000 to £25,000 plus VAT (for a 5 day hearing) and £30,000 to £50,000 plus VAT (for a 10 day hearing) depending on the seniority and experience of the advocate for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation). Costs can be more if you require an in person or telephone conference with Counsel and us to discuss the merits of your case, and/or an in person or telephone conference between Counsel, us and the relevant witnesses prior to the hearing. (We would recommend an in person conference with the witnesses.)
The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
- Entering into pre-claim conciliation with ACAS where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- Preparing the claim form which outlines the case and the nature of the dispute or preparing the response/defence when a claim has been made against an employer, including the document that sets out the factual detail of the claim and the legal basis for it
- Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other party
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process, including preparing or considering a schedule of loss, drafting without prejudice correspondence and reviewing/amending/drafting a settlement agreement or COT3 Agreement, as appropriate
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
- Exchanging documents with the other party, reviewing documents and preparing and agreeing a bundle of documents
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
- Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements, agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
- Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel
- Correspondence with the employer, the Claimant or their legal representative in relation to applications to the Tribunal, making or responding to data subject access requests, compliance with case management deadlines, conduct and costs
- The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only take our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged according to your individual needs.
How long will my matter take?
The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 5-10 weeks. In London, the majority of cases settle before the final hearing and the impact this has on fees will depend on when (if at all) during the process the parties agree to settle.
If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6-12 months, though please note that tribunals are currently under resourced and the matter could take longer to resolve by way of an Employment Tribunal hearing. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.
*VAT will be charged at the prevailing rate (which is currently 20%).